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Aygo, Yugo, We All Go - Toyota Aygo review via a rental

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Generally speaking, I prefer not to drive a rental car in Europe unless it has an automatic transmission.  That allows a person to pay more attention to the nutty or aggressive drivers than on timing the clutch in tricky situations.  Now, even with an automatic transmission, I would not drive in left-hand drive countries - UK, IE, or Malta.  Period.

Automatics are more readily available and larger cars over there.  And they cost more.  That slims how many econoboxes with automatics are available as rentals.  The icon on my rental reservation indicated a Smart coupe, which would have been fine for 5 days.  Instead, I was given a Toyota Aygo.

The tiny Toyota had almost 60,000 km (about 36,000 miles), so they weren't as fussy as they've been in the past with small dings and scratches at Italian airport rental agencies.  And, while not many were noticeable, closer inspection revealed that there were quite a few of them ... and I made sure that they were noted.

It was sort of cool that my rental car would be a sedan.  I felt it would feel more substantial on the road than a Smart coupe.  And that it would have more trunk space.

Getting used to the Aygo was easy.  There isn't much to set up, except maybe for the Bluetooth.  There is a center instrument panel, a tidy center stack area with simple controls, and the glove box to the right.  On the steering wheel were infotainment tuning adjustments and phone controls.  The seating was just okay ... a little on the hard side.  The rear seat was tight and only suitable for people who aren't that tall.  Trunk space was extremely limited - one medium sized suitcase and one smaller bag or item.

I did not bother to look at what was under the hood until later.  The Aygo was sufficiently powered for everyday situations but insufficiently powered for merging and passing.  It was an automatic that really, really wound out when the car was throttled ... and then shifted.  It was in fact a geared automatic.  The reason it wound out is because it was hooked up to a 3 cylinder engine, the first in my life I've ever driven.  It didn't vibrate at idle, and you might have even assumed it was a small 4 banger.  However, it sure was grainy ... grainier than most 4 cylinders in cheap cars.  The automatic transmission had 3 automatic modes - R, N, and E.  I couldn't find a P, for park.  I guess you put it in N and apply the parking brake ... and find a level place to park.  I didn't know what E stood for, but that was the setting for forward driving and automatically shifting through the gears.  If you moved the shifter to the left and downward, you could move through the forward gears manually.  I saw no point in using that feature.

The Aygo's handling was competent and not much more than that.  It held the road but it wasn't set up for aggressive driving in curves, cloverleafs, etc.  Looking back, the ride of a Smart coupe was surprisingly better than one would think.  The same is true here.  It was just a little bit smoother and more planted than a Smart coupe, even though neither of them can soak up road imperfections all that well. I found the rear visibility to be good.  It was very easy to park.  Between the good visibility and the mirrors, parking in small spaces, changing lanes, and driving defensively was more possible.

This is one cheap car, though.  I liked the center stack, where audio controls on a touch screen and climate controls in a square-round cluster (as opposed to a horizontal strip) were easy to learn.  However, there is a lot that one would take for granted that is missing.  One thing is that there's no temperature gauge.  I've even seen this in some domestic offerings these days.  Another thing is that the rear windows don't go up or down.  They just push out ... like vents.  There is only one windshield washer up front. 

Then, much like a contradiction, it featured some good amenities - a remote fuel door, power windows for the front 2 windows, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and a stitched steering wheel, though I couldn't tell if was leather or urethane. They cut corners in many places to make this basic transportation that people can afford.  Its best feature was its gas mileage.  I didn't calculate it but, ball parking it, I was getting about 50 mpg in mostly highway driving.

The Aygo base sedan with an automatic transmission (or a manual one) is basic transportation.  I would not want one as my daily driver.  It was fine for a short rental. 


Edited by trinacriabob
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Glad you made it there and back and no bugs that you know of came home with you then?

I hear all of Italy is under lock n key now till the coronavirus is over.

So basic transportation, so was the interior just all hard plastics and basic cloth seats then?

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@dfelt  Right now, the north of the country has been severely affected by COVID-19.  Sicily has only seen a few cases.  On a shaded map, they were are 1 to 10 cases the last time I looked.  A friend who lives there told me that most people are doing fine and trying to keep their chins up.  I'm fine but it's distressing to read about what they're going through.  I read that the country has been badly affected because, percentage wise, it has the oldest population in Europe and the second oldest population in the world.

I set aside a series of photos to put up when I wrote the review.  I will put them up, along with explanations of each.

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Driving in Italy is definitely an adventure...I enjoyed my vacations there back in the mid 00s...driving a diesel manual Mercedes A140 from Rome to Pompeii and Salerno (along the Amalfi coast) and back was an adventure.    And driving from Milan to the lakes up north in a Vectra diesel was fun.   I remember the fast food at Spizzico's in the Autogrill rest areas to be tasty. 

Edited by Robert Hall
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Just now, balthazar said:

Generic penalty box appliance.

It definitely wasn't an S-class... dark blue cloth interior IIRC..strange, funky little hatchback.   

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Photos taken during this 5 day rental


Here's the Toyota Aygo at a filling station and Autogrill adjacent to the highway.


That's it - and the one on the left is a roll-aboard that you can't roll aboard into the cabin when you stuff it to the gills.


The cheap rear compartment cover was flailing with the wind (a small vid would have been better) and did not engage into its slots that easily.


Here's the IP - speedometer (kms), tach to the left, idiot lights to the right, and a decent steering wheel set-up (stitched, but probably still urethane).


Here's the center stack - the infotainment screen was easy to use and the climate control cluster was even easier to use (less is more).


One big windshield wiper for this little windshield - note that the trees and bushes kept their leaves during winter.


This is the automatic gear selector - no console, armrest, or anything like that ... if you look to the bottom right, you can see the "E."



There's not much in the way of rear leg room and you push out the rear windows like you would vents - they don't roll up or down.


Here's the split rear seating and you can see the cover over the small rear trunk/storage area.


Even with a thicker rear sail panel / C-pillar, visibility is very good, largely because it's a small car.

- - - - -

End of photos

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9 hours ago, dfelt said:

Upon seeing that auto, the only thing I can say or do is :puke: 

I know.  Especially as a daily driver.  For rented wheels with an automatic on the cheap in a less populous area in a foreign country, it was fine.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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On 4/5/2020 at 12:10 AM, regfootball said:

yikes, that is 'basic'...its like the little suzukis in india....

Yeah, weird with its one windshield wiper, pop out rear seat windows, etc.

Between how cheap it was and how many kilometers it had on it, they were not too vigilant when I brought it back.  If it's a nicer and newer economy sedan, with good options and low miles, it is scrutinized when returned way more so than they would in the U.S.

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